Raise the Lower Age

In Texas, children aged 10 and up can be adjudicated and confined in secure juvenile correctional facilities. These prison-like settings are no place for kids. Further, when pre-adolescent children exhibit law-breaking behavior, there are often family dysfunction or behavioral health issues that are better addressed outside of the juvenile justice system. We are working to raise the lower age from 10 to 13. 

Team Members

Headshot of Brett Merfish

Brett M. Merfish

Director of Youth Justice,
Youth Homelessness Project, Juvenile Justice Project

Headshot of Martin Martinez

Martin A. Martinez, M.P.Aff

Senior Policy Analyst,
Youth Homelessness Project, Juvenile Justice Project

Key Statistics

Icon of a person

10 to 11

Kids aged 10-11 make up a small percentage of kids referred to the juvenile justice system. Most are referred for misdemeanors. Referrals to probation increase the likelihood that youth will be involved in the justice system later in life.

Icon of a school building

10 to 12

A large number of 10- to 12-year-olds are referred to probation because of school-related behaviors, and Black youth are referred to probation for school-based offenses at a higher rate than their White peers.

line illustration of a group of people


Half of the 10- to 12-year-olds in detention in 2018 had mental health needs, and 20 percent of 10- to 12-year-olds in detention were special education students.